About the guide

This guide provides advice to implement the governance and institutional arrangements for statistical data integration involving Commonwealth data as agreed by heads of Australian Government agencies in 2010. It gives effect to the High Level Principles for Data Integration involving Commonwealth Data for Statistical and Research Purposes (the High Level Principles) and applies to all in scope statistical and research projects involving Commonwealth data. For more information please refer to Scope of the Commonwealth Arrangements.

The purpose of this guide is to provide conceptual and practical advice to assist data custodians, integrating authorities and data users (such as researchers) in understanding and implementing the framework for data integration projects that use Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes. It provides guidance on the planning, management and approval processes for Commonwealth statistical data integration projects, as well as advice on practical aspects of managing and conducting projects such as data management and security and appointing an integrating authority with responsibility for the whole project. In many cases, it will be possible to use or adapt existing practices for undertaking data integration projects to align with the Commonwealth arrangements.

The guide takes into account the commitments of data custodians under the Privacy Act 1988 and other legislation relating to the disclosure, use or dissemination of the source data. It builds upon already available guidelines including the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research and related guidelines of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, as well as agency specific guidelines and resources.

Use of the approach described in this guide is encouraged for all statistical data integration projects involving Commonwealth data. Application of the guide will ensure that the High Level Principles are upheld in accordance with the directions of the Secretaries Board. However, there is flexibility within the guide to adapt aspects of the process to align with existing practices or to take into account circumstances specific to a project. The guide does not override any applicable legislation.

The guide is a living document and it is expected that it will be updated and enhanced as the Commonwealth arrangements for data integration are implemented and mature.  Comments can be made directly on the relevant pages or by email to statistical.data.integration [at] nss.gov.au.